Water-Related News

The Little Manatee River is a step closer to receiving a federal ‘scenic’ designation

The designation would help preserve and protect the river from intrusive development, from its source in southern Hillsborough County to its mouth where it enters Tampa Bay.

The Little Manatee River is a step closer to being added to the National Park Service's Wild and Scenic River System.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation sponsored by Congressman Vern Buchanan that would designate the 51-mile river as scenic. Now, the Senate must approve the measure.

The designation would help preserve and protect the river from intrusive development, from its source in southern Hillsborough County to its mouth where it enters Tampa Bay. Recreational activities, such as canoeing, kayaking, boating and fishing would still be permitted.

“Protecting Florida’s beautiful lands and pristine waterways is one of my top priorities,” Buchanan said in a release. “Designating the Little Manatee River as ‘scenic’ will ensure that it is kept in its current, pristine condition for future generations to enjoy."

If the river receives the scenic designation, the National Park Service would develop a management plan that includes ways to preserve the existing natural environment.

Only two other rivers in Florida are recognized under the federal program: The Loxahatchee River near Jupiter and the Wekiva River north of Orlando.

“From canoeing and fishing for bass or panfish upriver to skiing and fishing for various saltwater species downriver, this natural treasure has much to offer in terms of recreation and scenic beauty," Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White said in a release. "I have spent a lifetime enjoying all that this river has to offer and my hope is to see it preserved for many more generations of Hillsborough County residents to enjoy."